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Climate SMART: Be cool - reduce global warming & climate risks

Climate Impacts Our Environment & Our Lives

If you ask the average Canadian about how and where climate change will impact the most, and what to do about it, a likely response would be ‘I’m not actually sure … perhaps the weather will get warmer or more extreme.’

Climate change is affecting our ecosystems and the wildlife that surrounds us. In some cases, forests may die back, and fish may migrate. There is increasing damage in coastal areas from sea-level rise and storm surge. Furthermore, the combined effect of our Maritimes coasts sinking (subsidence), and rising sea-levels are posing challenges for coastal management in HRM, and the Maritimes.

An increased intensity and frequency of heat stress and cold snaps are affecting our lives. We are also becoming more vulnerable to climate change-induced extreme weather events like hurricanes, wind storms, flash floods, and storm surge. But, can we actually reduce our risks and adapt to a changing climate?

Climate Change Impacts Our Public Services & Green Spaces

The increasing costs of extreme weather impact to public utilities such as power lines and roads, commercial & residential buildings, and our green spaces are a worry. On a national basis, among the most severely threatened coastal areas are on the Atlantic coast. Sea level is already rising with demonstrable impacts, and accelerated sea-level rise under greenhouse gas warming is expected to worsen these impacts. Threats come primarily from increasingly intense tropical depressions, impacts of coastal flooding and erosion, and damage from the impacts of ice caused by storm surge. Let’s look at other specific examples of how climate change may affect us and our surrounding environment.

Climate Change Impacts on the Natural Environment

This Environment Canada Map shows that a doubled concentration of atmospheric CO2 will likely be reached by about 2050 to 2075. The map shows expected vegetation type levels assuming climate is the only determinant. Since soil conditions and their biotic life cycles limit the rate of forest migration, vegetation types may NOT be realized by 2075.